Having a great customer support service is key to getting new clients and maintaining your existing ones. That means that even if products and sales are at a high, you need to work on building a great relationship with clients. That’s when a shared inbox for customer support can help you.
In this article, we compare shared inbox tools exclusively focused on customer support. If you are looking to manage multiple workflows with shared inboxes, read our shared inbox guide for more options.
Client acquisition and retention through customer service
Are you upholding all the necessary standards in customer service? When a company grows and reaches more people, it can be hard to keep up with all communication systems. But either way, your team needs to answer any inquiries from existing clients.
By providing excellent customer support, you allow your clients to form a good relationship with your company and build a reputation they can trust. That way, they know they can reach out whenever they need and the answers will be helpful. On the flip side, if the team knows how to offer great knowledge, they can go through the inquiries much faster.
But a great customer service impacts client acquisition as well. For instance, when a potential new buyer tries to reach you with technical concerns about your product, a quick answer helps close the deal. Say you’re setting up a new marketing campaign: what happens when a potential client reaches back with further concerns?
If you miss out on this opportunity to show your work, you don’t build this relationship as effectively.
How can you use a shared inbox for customer support?
The first thing you should know is that a shared inbox is a digital workspace that allows your entire team to communicate in the same place, at the same time. Instead of having to forward each message from the public email address to themselves and to each other, the customer service team can follow conversations in real time.
This makes it much faster for teams to collaborate. If you need a technical solution, you can tag another team member and upload relevant files. That way, as soon as you finish a task, you can reply to the client and close the support ticket.
Organization and inbox clutter
Another challenge that might be subdued with a shared inbox for customer support is cleaning up your inbox. Usually, with customer support teams, one of the biggest issues is following the number of messages you get regularly. New questions and issues are always coming into the inbox and it’s hard to sort through them.
A shared inbox for customer support can make this process much faster, categorizing messages into tasks and assignments to a specific project. With tools like DragApp, for example, you can organize tickets in Kanban boards, by status, deadlines, and assignees.
Context-switching is the lack of focus associated with doing too many concurrent tasks. If you start working on something and then it requires you to go to a different software or platform, you lose momentum. It takes a while to get back into the swing of things, which cuts down on your productive time.
The more steps you have to go through, the less focus you have and the longer you take to finish the project. In customer support, this loss of speed can be very detrimental to overall productivity.
Automating customer service
While customer concerns are worrisome, they usually stay within a few subjects. Maybe you sell a software that requires a higher learning curve, maybe your customers are having a hard time implementing changes into their own work. But if you’re getting similar questions regularly, it should be easier to answer them.
That’s one way a shared inbox for customer support is helpful. If you know the kind of questions you are getting, you can use your own inbox to filter them for you. With that, come other tools, such as canned responses and auto-reply.
Canned responses are pre-written answers that follow a structure representing your customer support team. You create these templates that can be modified to match the specific client’s needs and address them directly. Auto-reply uses these pre-emptive answers by itself. On Drag, you can set up rules that filter through your messages and send them replies automatically according to subject lines, keywords and other common denominators.
Building a knowledge base
As the customer support team grows and develops a helpful set of skills to match the customer’s concerns, it’s crucial to build a space where these can be shared. On regular inboxes, the conversations start and end across different platforms, effectively losing the context and searchability.
If the team has a shared inbox, however, they can look through previous answers and shared files to find the solutions they need.
What to look for in a shared inbox for customer support
The idea behind a shared inbox is that it fosters collaboration within the team. So, that means there are a few crucial tools that have to be there for it to happen. First, you should look for a platform that allows you to categorize messages. Tags, folders and other forms are a great addition for inbox clean-up.
Secondly, you should pay attention to other collaboration features, such as being able to @mention your team members and uploading files to your email tasks. Some tools allow for roles so that you can set up team managers and inbox admins, making it easier to establish guidelines.
Top 5 tools: shared inbox for customer support
Now that you know what to look for in a shared inbox for customer support, it’s worth taking a moment to understand the different options and what they bring. Some might work better for bigger teams, others have extra features that highlight specific industries.
To help you pick, we’ve chosen the top 5 options:
GrooveHQ is a shared inbox tool that focuses on getting the job done. By implementing a centralized dashboard, users can track their progress and monitor team tasks. That way, you can focus on each KPI individually, but also on your workflow in general.
GrooveHQ has integrations with tools like Shopify, Stripe, Slack and Zapier, to make sure your work stays connected to your inbox.
Highlights: Collision detection to avoid double replies and customer history for better context
Pricing: the most affordable plan allows for up to 5 people at $12/user/month
Capterra review: 4.5 stars
Help Scout is a multi-channel shared inbox tool that makes it easier to manage incoming client communication, no matter where it’s coming from. With this software, you can install a live chat function on your company’s website and answer it directly from the shared inbox.
On Help Scout, you can browse through customer relationship data, to make better decisions based on previous conversations. It also includes a collision detector, so that two people on the customer service team don’t accidentally send a client a duplicate message.
With automations and the ability to set rules, you can make your inbox cut down on time spent looking at your email, which is beneficial to overall productivity.
Highlights: you can build a knowledge base with Help Scout and distribute it to your clients across the website. That way, plenty of how-tos and guidelines are written out for them before they even message customer service.
Pricing: $20/user/month for up to 25 users
Capterra review: 4.6 stars
Kayako is a helpdesk service platform. That means it was designed specifically with customer service agents in mind. It is another app that focuses on maintaining the context. When a customer service agent logs into their account, they can see a dashboard that includes all relevant files for the current tasks.
Upon clicking on a client conversation, which can happen by email, text message or social media, the agent sees the client’s history, such as time with their services, demographics, previous concerns and much more. As for integration, this app focuses on Salesforce and Zapier.
Highlights: Buildable self-service portal. There, you can fill in information for your customers’ FAQ. Tutorials, files and quick answers will help people who need a fast(er) solution.
Pricing: depends on number of members and services requested
Capterra review: 4 stars
Freshdesk was developed to make your workday easier, setting up a dashboard where agents can view all their metrics and tasks. There are multiple integrations, from social media to task management apps. One of its main positives, however, is that you can create a knowledge base, perfect for offering clients a self-service troubleshooting space.
Highlights: automations and rules to organize your inbox automatically. Workflow distribution by subject and current tasks, to balance all team members fairly.
Pricing: there’s a free version for testing. The Growth plan starts at $15/agent/month
Capterra review: 4.5 stars
With Front, users have a shared view of every incoming message, no matter what platform it came from. That’s why it works well as a shared inbox for customer support. Assignments and categorization are what keeps the focus going and no messages left behind.
No matter where the customer is reaching you from – social media, phone, email – Front keeps it all together, along with the customer profile. That way, you can track recurring issues and find new strategies going forward.
It was designed to feature cross-department communication as well. So if the customer service team needs to collaborate with Tech or Sales, it’s much easier to do it from a shared inbox.
Highlights: the data analytics system allows agents and managers to measure their wait times and overall productivity
Pricing: the Starter plan allows up to 10 team members. It’s priced at $19/user/month.
Capterra review: 4.5 stars
Our top pick
Considering the cost-effectiveness, UX and feature set, among other criteria, we chose Help Scout as the best shared inbox for customer support.
Including multi-channel inboxes makes it helpful for clients to reach your team. Automations set up the digital workspace. And with collaboration, the entire team can finish tickets much faster and better. It also has the most solid reviews from customer support teams and its pricing is very affordable when compared to its competitors.